Charles “Chuck” Stark, who was the first Fresno City College women’s basketball coach, died Jan. 22. He was 88.
Born in Long Beach on March 30, 1928, and a graduate of Las Vegas High in 1945, he always had a passion to coach, and it was not long before Stark found his way to the central San Joaquin Valley.
His first basketball coaching stops included Fowler, Clovis and Bullard high schools, but it was at Fresno City where Stark made his mark.
First hired as the Fresno City women’s basketball coach in 1977, he coached the Rams to three conference titles and a 132-44 record.
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In the 1975-76 season, Mr. Stark led the Fresno City men’s team to a 23-7 record.
Brenda Frazier, who played for the Rams from 1981-83, recalled a moment when her coach taught her a valuable lesson when he kicked her out of practice.
I cried, and that changed my whole outlook on life. I changed my attitude, and he gave me a big hug, and I said, ‘Thank you.’
Former Fresno City women’s basketball player Brenda Frazier, recalling a moment with coach Charles Stark
“Told me to change my attitude or don’t come back. I cried, and that changed my whole outlook on life,” Frazier said. “I changed my attitude, and he gave me a big hug, and I said, ‘Thank you.’ ”
Rams women’s basketball coach Brian Tessler said Stark “set the bar” for the Fresno City program.
“He set the benchmark for his first year,” Tessler said. “People don’t realize he went 23-3. He was 14-0 in conference and third in the state, and that was a pretty good start.”
Jeff, Steve and Chad Stark played baseball at Fresno City, and all three also took their dad’s class: History of Physical Education, a course Stark developed himself.
“It was like a history of sports,” Chad Stark said.
The one thing I learned from my dad is to treat everybody with respect, no matter their background or skin color.
Charles Stark’s son Chad Stark
Chad Stark noted his father never cussed, smoked or drank and said he and his brothers will always carry the lessons their father taught them.
“The one thing I learned from my dad is to treat everybody with respect, no matter their background or skin color,” Chad Stark said. “He loved people, and everybody loved him. Every picture we have of him he’s smiling.”
Mr. Stark was preceded in death by his wife, Bernadine, and a son, Jeff. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and John Stewart; sons and daughter-in-law, Steven, Chad and his wife, Akiko; as well as five grandchildren: Campbell, Ryan, Jordan, Bunsei and Emily.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at New Harvest Church, 698 N. Minnewawa between Herndon and Alluvial in Clovis.